Pain relief medication for dogs and cats did not offer many options until the advent of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) medications such as Rimadyl, Deramax, Etogesic and Metacam. Up until that point, pain in animals was not well addressed, nor was it given the attention it needed. These NSAID medications work by blocking inflammation though inhibiting COX (cyclo-oxygenase). COX inhibitors block prostaglandins, which are considered the precursors of pain. While these drugs looked very promising in the beginning, problems began to develop. Side effects were discovered and included:
– loss of appetite
– change in drinking habits (refusal to drink or increased water consumption)
– unusual pattern of urination, blood in the urine, sweet-smelling urine, an overabundance of urine, urine accidents in the house
– black, tarry stools or flecks of blood in the vomit
– lethargy, drowsiness, hyperactivity, restlessness, aggressiveness
– staggering, stumbling, weakness or partial paralysis, full paralysis, seizures, dizziness, loss of balance
– jaundice (yellowing of the skin, mucus membranes and whites of the eyes)
|When newer drugs were introduced, such as Deramax, further side effects were discovered such as increased bleeding on initial use of the drug and a much higher death rate:
|Another problem with NSAIDs is that they can’t be used with steroid drugs such as dexamethazone, prednisolone, Vetalog or Depomedrol. The prostaglandins also protect the liver and kidney and when these are blocked, kidney and liver problems can quickly develop in some dogs (cats should not take NSAIDs). More information on contraindications with NSAIDs can be found on this web page: www.srdogs.com
|So for those of us with dogs that have sensitive stomachs or kidney and liver issues, there were no good alternatives or choices for pain control. Even aspirin is a COX inhibitor and Tylenol can cause severe liver problems. Opiates could be used for severe cases (such as Fentanyl patches or morphine) but these tended to cause disorientation and drowsiness in dogs.
|I felt very left out for pain control in my animals. I have a dog with a congenital kidney condition that could not use the non steroidal type medications. I had another dog with elbow dysplasia, and continuous use of NSAIDs seemed too risky. And last, I had a dog with bone cancer in her front leg that also had a herniated stomach. But through the modern world of the “Internet,” I heard about this drug called Tramadol. Tramadol basically works as an opiate where it helps to block pain receptors, but does not have the heavy duty side effects of morphine (such as confusion and sleepiness). Furthermore, Tramadol is not a narcotic, so it needs no special paperwork. It is a prescription drug, but does not create addiction or mood altering experiences. It is safe for dogs with kidney and liver conditions and does not cause gastric bleeding. And if necessary, it can be combined with NSAIDs or steroids (NOTE: never combine NSAIDs and steroids. That is very dangerous).
|It is generally given twice daily, although dosing and times need to be determined by your veterinarian. It is a relatively new drug, so many vets are not aware of it yet. If your vet would like more information, provide these websites for further information:
|For my girl with bone cancer, the use of Tramadol reduced her pain and as a result, it increased her appetite, gave her more mobility and better quality of life. For my dog with elbow dysplasia, Tramadol has given him a new lease on life and freedom from his elbow pain. I have not yet needed to use it for my dog with kidney problems, but I have ease of mind knowing there is a good pain medication for him should he ever need it.
|Good pain control is important in so many ways for dogs and cats (tramadol is also safe for cats). It helps relieve pain which in turn can increase appetite. It can help with mobility in arthritis and bone cancer pain. It can give many dogs and cats a new lease on life with greater comfort and ease in their day to day to living. It could well be a good pain medication to give in some surgical recoveries.
|Do not give Tramadol with Deprynyl (often used for Cushings Disease), serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
|The side effects of Tramadol can include nausea, and drowsiness. Neither of my dogs experienced nausea, but both were drowsy the first day or so but this quickly subsided (and might be due to the fact that they were pain free and feeling very good!) Side effects are considered rare with Tramadol.
|In veterinary medicine there has been a recent explosion in the development of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications for the control of animal pain, particularly canine.
|These medications act by inhibiting cyclo-oxygenase, an enzyme that creates assorted inflammatory biochemicals. Unfortunately, cyclo-oxygenase also creates some much needed biochemicals as well and there are different forms of cyclo-oxygenase with different functions. These medications are virtually never safe for feline use (except in one-time doses as in the control of pain associated with surgery). Further, occasionally, a dog will develop a reaction to one of the so-called COX-inhibiting anti-inflammatories. For these patients, tramadol may be just the ticket.
|Tramadol can be used for pain relief in both dogs and cats. (Most non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are dangerous for feline use, so this provides a nice choice for cats with chronic pain issues.) Tramadol is given two to three times daily.
If a pet develops apparent sedation or bizarre behavior, the Tramadol dose should be reduced. Upset stomach is occasionally observed with Tramadol. Side effects are generally considered rare.
|Ultram is the brand name for Tramadol. Dogs should never be given Ultracet, which also contains acetominophen and is very dangerous for dogs (and cats).
|B-Naturals offer two natural anti-inflammatories that can be used safely with Tramadol. Tramadol blocks the pain receptors, but other products may be needed to help fight inflammation.
|The first is
Tasha's Herbspirin (use Willow Bark Liquid) is an herbal blend that contains Vegetable Glycerin, Distilled Water, Black Cohosh, Meadowsweet, White Willow Bark, Celery Seed, Alfalfa Lead, Hawthorne Berry, Rosehips, Prickly Ash Bark and Flower Essences. Herbspirin (Willow Bark) for dogs is formulated to help relieve inflammation, aid connective tissues and address the accompanying sense of insecurity, rigidity and anxiety which dogs experience when living with the challenges of stiffness and reduced movement. It is also useful after surgery or accidents, and for general pain relief. Always give WITH meals.
|The second is Azmira’s Yucca Intensive. Yucca Intensive contains natural steroidal saponins which are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. It is especially beneficial in the treatment of bone, joint and gastrointestinal disorders. Tissue swelling reduces blood flow through injured areas and increases toxins that irritate the liver and kidneys. Yucca cleanses these organs, promoting blood flow and tissue repair. It contains Concentrated, Purified Yucca Extract and Potassium Sorbate (mineral-based stabilizer). Use at one drop per ten pounds of body weight, twice daily WITH meals.
|Also helpful for dogs and cats in stress is the Rescue and Relief Essence. Rescue & Relief Essence is a must to have on hand in your first aid kit. It helps to minimize the effects of any sudden trauma or loss. It reduces states of panic or grief from an accident, or emotionally difficult experience. It helps during onset of illness, too. It contains the Bach Flower Remedies Star of Bethlehem (reduces trauma, shock and grief), Rock Rose (for panic, fear and terror), Clematis (reduces fainting and spaceyness), Impatiens (for stress, tension and irritability) and Cherry Plum (to help maintain control). This can be repeated every 5 to 15 minutes initially up to 1 hour, as needed. It may be added to the water dish.
The food in my bowl
Is old, and more to the point
Contains no tuna.
|So you want to play.
Will I claw at dancing string?
Your ankle’s closer.
|There’s no dignity
In being sick – which is why
I don’t tell you where.
I am locked in the closet.
For once I need you.
|Tiny can, dumped in
Plastic bowl. Presentation,
One star; service: none.
1. An epulis is:
A. A special training collar
B. A small piece of skin in the back of a dogs throat
C. A skin tag or small tumor
D. A military uniform decoration
|2. All of these are typically raised in blood levels in dogs with pancreatitis EXCEPT:
|3. Some suggested supplements for anxious dogs include all of these EXCEPT:
B. Rescue Remedy
F. Anxiety wrap
|4. Useful supplements for allergies include:
A. Vitamin C
B. Brewers yeast
D. Omega 3 fatty acids
|5. Which of the following fish contain high levels of mercury (caution, there is more than one right answer)
A. King Mackerel
B. Jack Mackerel
|Answers to Quiz Questions:
Answer: C. An epulis is the most common type of non-cancerous (benign) tumor in a dog’s mouth
Answer: A. BUN is associated with kidney disease and dehydration, but not pancreatitis. However, the rest may or may not be elevated, even normal blood work cannot rule out pancreatitis. Note that elevated triglycerides can lead to pancreatitis, as well as result from it (which is called secondary hyperlipidemia)
Answer: E. Ephedra is a Chinese herb (ma huang) that acts as a stimulant and can be dangerous to both dogs and people. Melatonin is a hormone that has been used with success for dogs with thunder or other noise phobias, and is also being tried for separation anxiety. Rescue Remedy is a combination of Bach Flower Remedies that can be useful in stressful situations. Chamomile and Valerian are herbs that are used for anxiety. The Anxiety Wrap has been used with great success for dogs with all kinds of anxiety problems.
| Quesion 4
Answer: B. Brewer’s Yeast is a common allergen for dogs. Vitamin C in high doses can act as an antihistamine, especially if combined with bioflavonoids. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that is used for allergies and other forms of inflammation, it may be even more helpful if combined with the enzyme bromelain (if so, give away from meals for best results). Omega-3 fatty acids, such as are found in fish oil (body oil, not liver oil) and, to a lesser extent, flax seed oil, are immune system regulators that help with allergies and inflammation.
| Question 5
Answer: A and D. Jack Mackerel, Salmon and Sardines are good choices for feeding your dogs, but avoid King Mackerel and Tuna.
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